The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury Book Review


Destruction and creation happen constantly, and it never stops. From the moment we are born to our last moments on Earth we continue to destroy and create. But have we pondered upon what motives cause us to destroy and create? In the science fiction book, The Martian Chronicles written by Ray Bradbury, the reader is whisked on a fantastic journey where the colonization of Mars is taking place. Instead of creating a new civilization where humans could start afresh, the humans bring their pains and struggles to Mars. Their need for success, a better future and the solution for security and stability, causes the destruction of Mars and eventually Earth as well. Need is the reason why people create and destroy.

To begin, the need for success causes creation and destruction. In the story And the Moon be as Still as Bright, an expedition discovers an horrible truth. The Martians were dead and were killed by chicken pox. "Yes I made tests. Chickenpox. It did things to the Martians that it never did to the Earth Men.... burnt them black and dried them out into brittle flakes." (Bradbury 69).  Since the Martians had never caught chicken pox their immune system didn't know how to fight it, thus resulting in the Martians succumbing to the disease. This caused the whole race to be destroyed. In this case, the need for success caused destruction. In the wake of the destruction of the Martian race, a new civilization of humans emerged. Another example of when the need for success causes creation and destruction is when Father Peregrine tries to convert the Martians. He proposes a new idea which is preposterous to the other Fathers ----" The Fathers did not seem pleased at the prospect" (Bradbury 137) because it involves changing Christ. " So this circle will be the Martian Christ. This is how we shall bring him to Mars' (Bradbury 136). The need to successfully convert the Martian's caused the creation of a new version of Christ and a new way of looking at God. The need for success causes creation and destruction as proven by these stories.

Furthermore, creation and destruction can be caused by the need for a better future. In the story The Martian, the Martian is one of the last survivors of the Disease. He feels lonely and out of place in his own home. Since the humans arrived many of the Martians died and the few survivors were forced to live in remote places on Mars to protect their lives. He (The Martian) wanted to feel at home, wanted to feel like he belonged, so he began to change himself to fit the memories of the colonists. " He was Tom and James and a man named Switchman, another named Butterfield, he was the town mayor and a young girl named Judith and the husband William and the wife Clarisse." ( Bradbury 198). Eventually the pressure of being so many people resulted in his death. In this story, the Martian created different identities because he wanted to have a better future, one in which he felt that he belonged, this life wasn’t constantly in danger and that he was loved. In the Million- Year Picnic, a dad escaped Earth and fled to Mars with his family. He wanted to provide a better future for his kids, one without war and destruction.  "From now on, Michael was incredulous. He stood up …. What about the rocket? What about Minnesota?" " Here" said Dad (Bradbury 264). This move caused the dad to create a new reality for his family, a new normal. He destroyed his only rocket, their only way of going home because he wanted his kids to have a better future. The need for a better future causes creation/destruction.

Lastly, the solution for unfamiliarity causes creation and destruction.  In the story The Locusts, the colonists began to move to Mars. They felt strange and out of place. They wanted to wipe away all the strangeness from Mars and make it familiar. " And from the rockets ran men with hammers on their hands to beat the strange world into a shape that was familiar to the eye, to bludgeon away all the strangeness." ( Bradbury 107) The colonists began building houses that looked exactly like the ones on Earth because that would make them feel more familiar towards their surroundings and the planet. In this case, the need to find a solution for unfamiliarity caused the creation of Earth-like houses on Mars meanwhile also causing the destruction of the Martian houses. Another example of this takes place in the story Interim. In this story the colonists have settled on Mars but even though they have moved to another planet their life is still the same. Same towns, clothing, jobs, etc. " It was as if in many ways a great earthquake had shaken the very roots and cellars of an Iowa Town and then in an instant a whirlwind twister of Oz- like proportions has carried the entire town off to Mars and set it down without a bump. ( Bradbury 144) This quote talks about the colonists continuing to have the same lifestyle on Mars. I believe this is because the colonists wanted to feel like they were on Earth, even though Earth was millions of miles away. They wanted to make this new strange planet feel like home. They wanted everything to be familiar to them because they were afraid of feeling lost and alone. The solution for unfamiliarity causes creation and destruction. 

When people have a need they create or destroy to achieve/fulfill that need. The need for a better future, the solution for unfamiliarity and the need for success cause creation/destruction. Next time you have a need to fulfill, observe what you do to achieve that need. Do you create something? Do you destroy something? Or do you create while destroying?

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